"We want to make sure that Houstonians understand that Hispanics are spending billions of dollars in this city," added Laura Murillo, president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Consumer spending among Houston's Hispanics increased 44 percent to $52.75 billion in 2014 and is expected to top $175 billion by 2034, according to data presented by Mitzi Fleissner, research director for Telemundo Houston.
Figures like that represent opportunity for Houston companies, especially those with employees who speak Spanish. Fleissner said some 70 percent of the city's Hispanic households prefer speaking in Spanish.
These and other data points, ranging from home-ownership rates to voting patterns, were discussed during the inaugural Hispanic Houston Impact Summit. The event was presented by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Houston Business Journal and Telemundo Houston.
With so much of the current political debate having an anti-Hispanic or anti-immigrant edge, Murillo wanted to present a more positive image.
The latest Census figures show Harris County is 42 percent Hispanic. Throughout Houston, the group is wielding an increasingly strong purchasing power. Hispanics spent $6.1 billion on groceries, $4.2 billion dining out, $3 billion on health care and $2.4 billion on clothes in 2014, Fleissner showed in her presentation Wednesday.
Banking presents a particularly strong growth segment as Hispanic adult households are more likely than other groups to not use a bank or credit union, she said.
Murillo also lamented the lack of Hispanics on companies' board of directors. She said boards should reflect local diversity, even noting that 40 percent of directors on the chamber's board are not Hispanic.
This is also a problem in the political sphere, she said, and the event likewise highlighted the importance of voting.
Source: Published originally on Houston Chronicle as Hispanic business leaders counter 'bashing' with economic data by Andrea Rumbaugh, June 29, 2016.